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Supermarkets hire thousands of extra staff amid virus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 16:11 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 19 March 2020

Free school meal evouchers and gift cards can be used by families over Easter at a range of supermarkets. Picture: Sonya Duncan/PA Images

Free school meal evouchers and gift cards can be used by families over Easter at a range of supermarkets. Picture: Sonya Duncan/PA Images

Sonya Duncan/PA Images

Supermarkets are hiring thousands of new staff members nationwide to cope with an increased demand of services amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Iceland supermarket, Cromer, which is opening early on Wednesdays for the elderly and vulnerable. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYIceland supermarket, Cromer, which is opening early on Wednesdays for the elderly and vulnerable. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Morrisons, Iceland, Tesco, Lidl and East of England Co-op are all hiring new staff in Norfolk to help cope with the increased demand both in store and for delivery orders.

The increased demand comes as customers cleaned out the aisles with some panic buying due to fears over the spread of Covid-19.

Morrisons announced on Tuesday, March 17, it was creating 3,500 jobs to expand its home delivery service to cope with rising demand.

The retailer said it would be recruiting about 2,500 pickers and drivers, plus 1,000 staff in its distribution centres.

The new East of England Co-op supermarket on Norwich Road, Acle. Picture: James Bass PhotographyThe new East of England Co-op supermarket on Norwich Road, Acle. Picture: James Bass Photography

In Norfolk, the chain has jobs available in its Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Wymondham, Dereham, Diss, Lowestoft, Beccles and Cromer stores.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit.

“These measures will support our very hard-working colleagues, enable us to provide more food to more people in their homes and create opportunities for people whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus.”

The increased recruitment comes with a wave of new measures including closing 24-hour stores overnight to re-stock shelves, limiting quantities of some or all items in-store and introducing hours where only the vulnerable can shop.

Supermarkets have seen a huge rise in demand for delivery services, with no slots available until next month for both Tesco and Waitrose in some parts of the south east.

Shopper at Morrisons in DissShopper at Morrisons in Diss

The surge came as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps authorised a temporary relaxation, until April 16, of the drivers’ hours rules to help deliver goods to stores across the country.

Stores that are hiring new staff include:

Iceland: Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Cromer, Thetford and Swaffham.

East of England Co-op jobs: Norwich, Melton Constable, Spixworth, Harleston and Gorleston.

LIDL: Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Wymondham and Thetford.

For updates on where support is being offered in your community go to the Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help Facebook page.


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